It’s pie season! I say that like I’m really excited about it, but fact of the matter is…I’m not.
Truth is, I’m not really a pie person. I don’t love the consistency of most pies. Baked fruit is a little weird to me. However, my mom did just make some killer lemon meringue pies this afternoon for my grandma’s birthday. I couldn’t just let the extra pie crust sit there and go to waste, so I took the opportunity to jump right in a make a Caramel Apple Pear Galette. It was amazing in all its gluten filled glory! I will be converting that recipe to gluten free very very soon.
But again, pies are not my favorite dessert. But I like the idea of pies. When you think of a pie, you think of family, holidays, comfort, and coziness. You think of the aroma that fills your house after baking and the dollop of freshly whipped cream that goes on top of each slice.
Pies are sentimental. And for that reason, I just cannot give up on this dessert.
So instead of making the traditional pies during the holidays, I like to transform this oh so popular pastry into cupcakes. You can take all the flavors of your favorite pie and pack it into one perfectly delectable cupcake.
Take these Cinnamon Apple Pie Cupcakes for starters; a cinnamon spiced cupcake with apple pie filling, light and fluffy vanilla frosting, caramel drizzle, and a cinnamon crumb topping sprinkled on top. Sounds delish, right?!
It also sounds like a lot of work. Wrong!
These cupcakes actually turn out perfectly using a premade gluten free all-purpose flour from King Arthur. I was so impressed at the consistency of these cupcakes and have been using this brand of all-purpose flour when I am in a time crunch or don’t feel like getting five different flours out of my fridge. I still stand by my statement that to achieve the best results, you need a unique flour blend for each of your desserts, but this flour comes in handy.
Not only can you use just one flour, but I also filled the cupcakes with canned apple pie filling. You’re using such a small amount in the middle of the cupcake that it’s just not worth the extra effort to make the filling from scratch. Just pop open a can of filling, dice it up into small bits, and you’re good to go.
And my last step of laziness was not making my own caramel sauce either. Okay, I know you guys are thinking I’ve probably lost my mind because I make practically everything from scratch, but sometimes you just have to enjoy the holidays instead of slave away in the kitchen. Just make sure that your caramel sauce is gluten free. I used Hershey’s brand and it was great.
So really, all you have to make is the actual cupcake, the frosting and the crumb topping in order to assemble these bad boys. And there you have it, an apple pie in all its glory baked into one little flavor packed cupcake. That’s a win in my book!
What are some of the shortcuts you take when baking?
- For Cupcakes:
- ½ cup melted coconut oil or butter, cooled
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 cups King Arthur brand gluten free multi-purpose baking flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum*
- 1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
- For Vanilla Frosting:
- 1½ sticks butter, room temperature (12 tablespoons)
- 4½ cups powdered sugar
- dash of salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4-6 tablespoons milk
- For Crumb Topping:
- ¼ cup gluten free all-purpose flour (King Arthur)
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 can apple pie filling (I used Comstock, more fruit Apple)
- caramel sauce for drizzling (I used Hershey's)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
- In a large bowl or standing mixer, mix together melted coconut oil or butter, brown sugar, and eggs until pale and smooth, scraping down sides of the bowl. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
- Add cinnamon, flour, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum and mix until combined, scraping down sides of the bowl. Batter will be very thick.
- Add applesauce and mix on low until thoroughly combined. Batter will have thinned out. Beat for additional 2 minutes.
- Fill cupcake liners ⅔ way full with batter. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until tops bounce back at touch of finger or toothpicks inserted in middle come out clean. Rotate pan after 18 minutes if needed (if back cupcakes are browning more than front). Cool on cooling racks while making frosting and crumb topping.
- To make crumb topping, melt butter and set aside. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and xanthan gum. Pour melted butter on top. Stir together and mix with fingers to incorporate butter throughout mixture. Spread on parchment paper and bake for 7-8 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring halfway through, until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and let cool. Crumble with fingers if needed.
- To make frosting beat butter in a large bowl until light and smooth. Add 2½ cups of the powdered sugar. Beat until combined. This may take a minute. Mixture will go from powdery, to pea sized pieces, to thick batter. Add vanilla, salt, and 4 tablespoons of milk. Beat until combined and smooth. Add remaining 2 cups of sugar. Beat until combined and smooth. Add more milk for desired consistency.
- Assemble cupcakes by coring the middles with an apple corer, or cutting out the centers with a sharp knife, making sure not to cut to the bottom. You don't want pie filling spilling out the bottom when you remove the wrapper from the cupcake. Dice about half the can of the apple pie filling into very small pieces. Scoop enough pie filling into each cupcake to fill the centers and slightly mound over the top.
- Pipe, spread, or scoop using a small cookie scoop (this will make frosting look like a scoop of ice cream) frosting on top. Drizzle caramel sauce over frosting. Sprinkle crump topping over cupcakes. Serve and enjoy!